Q: I’m using Matrix™, but my nitrates are not coming down, it’s been at the same level for awhile now, what’s wrong?
A: Nothing’s wrong. The product is working just as it should. The removal of nitrates essentially comes down to one parameter: rate. The rate at which your tank is producing nitrates and the rate at which it can remove them. If you fill a bathtub with the spigot wide open and try to keep it from overflowing by draining it out of a straw, it won’t be long until it overflows. However, if you drain it at the same rate it fills, the level will always stay the same. Or, if it nearly fills up and then you drain it at a rate faster than it is filling, the level will drop. The same applies to nitrate removal. To lower nitrates you must equip your tank with the capacity to remove them at a rate greater than or equal to the rate of formation. So, if your nitrates are holding steady and you want them to come down, increase the amount of Matrix™you are using or use de*Nitrate™in addition to the Matrix™(de*Nitrate™will more efficiently remove nitrates per volume of product assuming a flow rate of not more than ~50 gallons/hour). If you need to use a higher flow rate, than stick with Matrix™or try Pond Matrix™, both of which support anaerobic denitrification at higher flow rates.
Q: If I’m using Matrix™do I need to use de*nitrate™as well?
A: That depends on a number of things. If Matrix™is doing the job for you (i.e. keeping nitrite/nitrate under control) then, no. If you’re running a flow rate higher than 50 gallons/hour, then you won’t be able to use de*nitrate™anyway since it requires a flow rate slower than that to support the denitrifying bacteria. If filter size and capacity are an issue, then de*nitrate™will provide a more efficient removal of nitrate per volume of product (i.e. you can use less de*nitrate™by volume than Matrix™to get the same denitrifying capacity). Also, de*nitrate™has the capacity to remove nitrates by chemical absorption on initial use of the product, although if nitrate levels are very high (above 20 mg/L) we recommend a water change as the most economical approach to getting your nitrate level down before putting these products into service.
Q: How long does it take for Matrix to grow the necessary anaerobic bacteria to remove nitrate?
A: This all depends on the stage of biological establishment of your tank, placement of Matrix and flow rate. Generally you will start to see improvement in a couple of weeks but every situation varies.
Q: If I buy a small hang-on-tank filter, and fill it solely with Matrix,will that be effective? What is the best type of filter to put Matrix in?
A: It will work but not nearly as well, a canister filter is recommended.
Q: Will using Matrix affect the PH of the water?
A: No, It is an inert media that will not directly impact your pH.
Q: Is it theoretically possible to achieve near-zero nitrate levels using Matrix?
A: If you have a fish load it would be extremely difficult to bring down your nitrates to zero (fish foods, waste, being introduced on a daily basis). However, it will help maintain your nitrates at lower levels.
Q: I have a few new customers that are telling me that Aquarium Pharmaceutical's product, called Bio Chem Stars - - is better because the same amount Bio Chem Stars compared to Matrix will handle a much larger amount of water.
A: 1 L of Matrix treats 100 gallons and 1 container of the bio chem stars with 20 stars treats 100 gallons. Both cost exactly the same (at Dr. Fosters web site). Also the information on the Aquarium pharm website says the pore size is in the 50-70 micron range and they do not specifically mention denitryifing bacteria... that coupled with the fact that Matrix has a pore size in the 3-30 micron range (and it does support anaerobic denitrifying bacteria) strongly suggests that the bio chem stars only support aerobic bacteria, not anaerobic... so it only does half of what Matrix does.